Thursday, June 18, 2020

Gov. Stitt announces first round of CARES Act funds delivered to cities, counties


GOVERNOR STITT ANNOUNCES FIRST ROUND OF CARES ACT FUNDS DELIVERED TO CITIES, COUNTIES IMPACTED BY COVID-19

OKLAHOMA CITY (June 17, 2020) – Governor Kevin Stitt was joined today by city and county leaders to announce the State has begun fulfilling reimbursement requests for CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Funds, fulfilling 30 percent of city and county requests in the first 7 days of receiving applications.

From June 1 to June 10, the State received a total of $7.5 million in reimbursement applications from more than 60 cities and counties for operation expenses related to the presence of COVID-19.

“Help is on the way to Oklahoma’s cities and counties whose services have been impacted by the presence of COVID-19,” said Gov. Stitt. “We are grateful for Oklahoma’s Congressional delegation who made these critical funds available. It has made government more agile for adapting its workforce and services, to include purchasing critical personal protective equipment and enhancing sanitation of public areas or communal facilities. The State has built a robust platform to get these funds out the door efficiently and quickly while also providing thorough oversight, and we expect to see the number of reimbursement applications to at least double in July.”

Governor Stitt was joined for the announcement by Edmond Mayor Dan O’Neil, Lawton Mayor Stan Booker, McAlester Mayor John Browne, Woodward City Council Member Roscoe Hill, Pittsburg County Commissioner Charlie Rogers, Comanche County Commissioner Alvin Cargill and Payne County Commissioner Chris Reding.

“We greatly appreciate the State and Governor Stitt’s leadership for making this reimbursement process efficient and expedient as time is of the essence for Payne County,” said Payne County Commissioner Chris Reding. “We have prioritized resources towards our county jail and for enhancing our disinfection efforts of public areas, and we expect to continue pursuing these critical funds to bolster our efforts in the coming months.”

“When COVID-19 entered the State, the City of McAlester quickly moved to a telework status and adjusted the delivering of public services. The Governor’s leadership on COVID-19 and the expediency in delivering these critical federal funds has been essential in our success to date,” said McAlester Mayor John Browne. “The city will continue to leverage reimbursement opportunities where necessary to enhance public health and safety in hopes we can keep this novel virus at bay from impacting our region.”

“The State has been a tremendous partner in addressing COVID-19 in Comanche County, from assisting us with PPE and testing in our prison to helping us minimizing community spread,” said Comanche County Commissioner Alvin Cargill. “The partnership has remained consistent and strong in the State’s efforts to now distribute federal funds to alleviate the financial strain from our county government adapting to a new normal with the presence of COVID-19.”

At the time of the announcement, 21 cities and counties will receive their requested reimbursement amount totaling $2.1 million. Expenses were reimbursed for personal protective equipment, public safety measures, disinfection of public areas, COVID-dedicated payroll expenses, telework capability improvements, maintain prisons and jails, and more. An excel sheet of reimbursements is available by clicking here.

The State’s will begin receiving reimbursement applications from cities and counties again from July 1 to July 10. More than 100 cities and counties have executed an agreement with the State in order to file for future reimbursement needs related to COVID-19. If a city or county has not yet registered with the State to apply for these funds, a designated public employee or elected official can submit their contact information here to begin the process: governor.ok.gov/crfgrants.

Per federal law, CARES FORWARD will process COVID-19 related reimbursements from cities, counties and State agencies until the end of January 2021. Cities and counties will be able to submit reimbursement applications during the first 10 days of every month, with the remainder of the month reserved for the State to review and validate applications as well as process payments.

While reimbursements are administered by the State, the federal funds are available due to the CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) passed by Congress and signed by President Donald J. Trump in late March. This federal stimulus delivered $1.2 billion to the State of Oklahoma to support COVID-19 response, to include expansion of testing and tracing, purchasing of personal protective equipment (PPE), and improvement of infrastructure or operations for delivering public services impacted by the presence of the novel virus.

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